Sterling Employee - Keely O'Connor - Featured Photos

The Things You Think You Know

We take National Hot Dog Day pretty seriously.

We take National Hot Dog Day pretty seriously.

Every third Thursday, Sterlingers gather after work for a bit of group bonding and low-key fun. Sometimes we celebrate something silly like National Hot Dog Day, sometimes we play trivia games in a nearby park, sometimes we just shoot the breeze over cheese and crackers. It’s a nice way to blow off steam and catch up with coworkers, it fuels our tight relationships, and it always generates great conversation. This month, our Third Thursday event changed my view of the world.

Our Operations VP sought special permission to hold a movie screening and we invited friends and family to convene at our offices for a group viewing. On September 15th, 2016, we all gathered to watch Equal Means Equal, a documentary that reflects on how women are treated in America.

Coincidentally, on September 15, 1981 — 35 years to the day before we watched the movie —the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman ever to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court (a group formerly known as “the Brethren”). What some folks at the office did not know is that the same Sandra Day O’Connor also happens to be my grandmother.

Every day in my childhood home, I would nonchalantly walk past a photo in the hallway of Grandma with President Ronald Reagan on the day she was sworn in. While the picture is symbolic of a historic stride in women’s march towards equality, for me, it was just a snapshot of the crowning honor in Grandma’s impressive career. (more…)

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Forget Rio, The Best Olympic Games Took Place in Our Parking Lot

While the world was watching Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and Usain Bolt win gold in Rio, we at Sterling had a little competition of our own — the first annual Sterling Olympics!

Unlike the real Olympics, where global athletes spend years training just to qualify, we decided to keep the actual events under wraps until game time to prevent any competitor from gaining unfair advantage. Our “Olympians” created their own random national teams to compete in the following sports: (more…)

OConnor, Marianne - Featured Photos

Three Lessons I Learned From Starting My Own Company

Once upon a time, there was a 27-year-old woman who worked for a high tech PR agency in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Yep, me.)

I got the opportunity to move to Silicon Valley and open a satellite office for that firm. For my $40,000/year salary, I worked days, nights, and weekends with a staff of 2 to build our west coast client base. At the end of year 1, my operation had generated $18,000 in profit. Not a lot of money, but I was proud of the accomplishment.

Then something unexpected happened. (more…)

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Sure-Fire Tips for Social PR Success

Public relations has always been a social endeavor. Even vendors in old-as-dirt markets understood the importance of spreading the word about town as a way to drive business. After all, those ripe batches of juicy plums weren’t going to sell themselves or improve with age. And, there was always another vendor just up the road, potentially with better prices and fewer bruises on the fruit.

Thanks to technology and digital channels, the social component in PR is now amplified. Online conversations and communities present invaluable opportunities for brands to tap into people’s needs and interests as they raise their visibility. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to cut through all the noise on social channels, not to mention pulling folks away from Pokemon Go.

In a webinar called “Unleashing the Power of Social PR,” Shonali Burke made the point that it’s not enough to communicate your messages, you must build community that you can then motivate to tell your story for you. If you’re wondering how exactly you’re supposed to do that, here are some of the top takeaways from that webinar combined with some best practices we follow here at Sterling. (more…)

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Three Reasons Video Isn’t Just for Marketing Anymore

The data is clear. Video is a must-have component of any modern-day strategic marketing plan. But in case you’ve been stuck with your nose in a paperback book lately, here is some of what we know about the impact of video:

  • 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product helps their decision-making process;
  • 65% of execs visit websites and 39% of them call vendors after viewing a video, according to Forbes; and
  • 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days, says the Online Publisher’s Association

So, given that videos produce such great results, why aren’t we regularly using video more broadly in the organization? That’s the question I asked myself last year. I’ve watched Sterling’s creative team produce beautiful, inspiring, and compelling client videos for years now, and frankly, I was jealous. Silicon Valley is a tight labor market where conveying a sense of corporate culture in within a minute can be a tremendous competitive advantage. So, I pushed for creating a series of employee- and candidate-centered videos. Here’s what we’ve learned from the process so far:

1. A good recruiting video is a great way to attract the right talent in a tight market. If you think about it, marketing to top talent is just as important as marketing to your customers. And, at Sterling, we’re always on the lookout for the right “fit,” not just the right set of skills. A well-produced authentic video that captures and conveys your company culture will definitely set you apart; moreover, it will attract the kind of people who will thrive in your company. As importantly, many poorly suited candidates will self-select out. And, as an added bonus, employees are not just willing, but eager to share fun videos about themselves and their company…so the network effect can be huge. (more…)

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From Scientist to Storyteller: Writing Because You Have To

Photo credit: The Odyssey Online

There are creative and literary types and there are science and math types, and never the twain shall meet…or so we’re often told. But in my neck of the woods, many of the best tales are centered around technology disciplines more heavily populated by those who fall on the less-literary side of that type line. Further, conveying a compelling story about technology without thoroughly understanding how it works or why it’s important is, at best, an exercise in triviality. And there’s the rub. The only people capable of communicating with any depth or authority on the subject are those who are purportedly ill-suited to delivering the message. (more…)

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10 Tips for Taking the “Work” out of Networking

 

If you’re like most people, walking into a room of relative strangers—especially without a wingman (or wingwoman)—can be a daunting prospect. Whether scouting for your next job or widening your professional circle, it can take steely resolve to push yourself onto the networking stage and perform. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tried and true tips to help you become a more successful (and less stressed out) networker. (more…)

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Mastering the Art of Storytelling

creative storytelling

Here at Sterling, we share a love of storytelling. A great story engages people and commands attention, sticks in the mind—it’s the gold standard in communications. As such, storytelling underpins our professional strategies—both for ourselves and for our clients. But conjuring a compelling tale isn’t always easy.

We all encounter crises of imagination from time to time, and it often materializes in the form of writer’s block. In our business, you need to produce words to tell stories, but sometimes the words won’t come. Don’t let the daunting emptiness of a blank page intimidate you. With the following easy-to-use practices and tips, you can increase your productivity and perfect your craft—whether in press releases, blogs, web copy, scripts, or contributed articles. To keep your wellspring of inspiration bubbling, practice the art of conscious creativity.  (more…)